Robot mopping is still in its infancy but already the best mops are starting to blur with their robo vac cousins. More and more brands have started producing hybrid robot mop vacs that mop using a wet pad mounted to the base. Hybrid vac-cum-mopping bots are perfect for homes with a lot of hard flooring but some of them aren’t especially useful if there are also rugs scattered about, but more on that below.
A very decent alternative to a hybrid bot is the new generation of bona fide robot moppers that are designed to just mop hard floors and nothing else. At the moment dedicated robot mops are a bit thin on the ground but it’s only a matter of time before the majority of manufacturers jump on board.
A dedicated robot mop is likely to do a better job of cleaning a hard floor since it’ll be equipped with a larger water tank for increased coverage and, in some instances, a dirty water tank and a built-in vacuum system to suck up excess liquids. We’re also just starting to see robot mops that can detect and avoid rugs, which is a boon for many households. If you prefer to clean using your own hands you should also peruse our best hard floor cleaner list. Something from the best steam cleaner section may also be suitable, although some wood floors may not be suited to steaming.
Is a robot mop a viable alternative to a mop and bucket?
That’s a very good question. If you have a lot of hard flooring and especially children and pets, a mopping bot is well worth having since regular mopping of floors is one of the most tedious chores known to man and womankind. Having a robot perform the task on a regular basis will simply save you a lot of time and effort. It will also ensure the floor is always in pristine condition which is handy if you have crawling toddlers about and you’re concerned about hygiene.
What if I have a mix of carpet, rugs and hard flooring?
Many hybrid robot vac-cum-mops won’t know how to avoid carpet or rugs and those that do might still mistake a thin rug for just another section of hard floor. This means it will effectively mop the rug which isn’t what you want. However, at least one manufacturer, Roborock, has addressed this issue with a hybrid model – the S7 – that raises the rear mop whenever it detects rugs or carpet.
The upshot is that if you have rugs scattered about, my advice is to gather them all up so the robot has full access to the room. Yes, it’s a hassle but then not everything in life is a breeze. On the other hand, if you have any of those tricky-to-remove sticky pads underneath the rugs to stop them from slipping, you may have to forgo the majority of mopping bots and opt for either the Roborock S7 or possibly the iRobot Braava Jet M6, since both models will avoid soaking rugs and carpet.
And that brings us nicely to the reason you came here in the first place – to find out which mopping robot is the most suitable machine for you.
The best robot mops we've tested to date
Without further ado, the best mopping robot for most needs is… the cracking 2-in-1 Roborock S7. Why? Simple, aside from its ace vacuuming skills it has a rear mopping pad that automatically lifts five millimetres off the ground the moment its ultrasonic sensor detects carpet or rugs, even ultra thin ones. This is a Holy Grail for this writer because my entire open plan downstairs area is strewn with rugs and, for me, rugs – especially ones with tassels – are the absolute number one enemy of most robot vacs and mops. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve had to rescue my otherwise utterly superb iRobot S9 after it had become tangled in a ruffled up rug. Thankfully the S7 has proved to be one of the best rug negotiators I’ve so far tested.
Another good thing about this vac’s mopping action is that the wet pad itself vibrates 3,000 times a minute so instead of just being dragged across the floor, it actually does some scrubbing, too. The 300ml water tank, meanwhile, provides more than enough dampness for a large room. The S7 comes with a single washable VibraRise mop cloth so you may need to buy some extras online.
On the vac front, this baby sucks big time, with up to 2500Pa4 of what Roborock calls HyperForce suction. All I know is that it works bloody well in combination with its 16cm ribbed rubber roller. Moreover, the roller itself is mounted into a multi-plain housing that follows the contour of the floor.
So what’s not to like? The small 470ml internal bin, that’s what. Although it’s of average size, it soon fills up quickly if you have pets in the home and it’s messy to empty, too. In America and some other territories you can by the S7 with an automatic bin-emptying dock (it’s called the S7+) but sadly it’s not available in the UK yet. If you can source one from aboard with a 240v power rating then I would definitely recommend grabbing one because without it the S7 loses some major points, especially if you’re a pet owner.
Other than that small but significant negative, the Roborock S7 is the first robot mop I’ve tested that I can completely leave alone safe in the knowledge it’ll vacuum all the floors – hard and carpet – and mop just the hard floors and not the rugs. And that, dear robofiends, is why it’s number one.
• Read our full Roborock S7 review
Where the winning Roborock S7 is ostensibly a robot vacuum with a mop attached, the Braava Jet M6 is an actual mop with front spray jet that can be adjusted for different levels of cleanliness. The Braava Jet M6 is said to use the same mapping software as its vacuuming stablemate, the marvellous iRobot S9 with which it can work in tandem, but I found it wasn’t quite as clever as the S9 in this respect since it took a long time to map my open-plan kitchen and sitting room which is admittedly quite large.
It also refused to cross over a large rug that divides the kitchen from the sitting room which meant it had to create two separate maps which in turn meant having to manually place it in the kitchen. Normally the act of avoiding rugs would be a good thing because you don’t want a robot mop running slipshod over any carpets or rugs. Anyway, I got round the issue by removing the offending rug and letting the Braava Jet continue on its course so my entire downstairs area was covered by just one map. The moral here is that you will likely need to pick up any connecting rugs so the robot can get on with performing the full task you paid for it to do.
The Braava Jet M6 comes with a 440ml water tank so it has plenty of ammo for even the largest of rooms. Like most robot mops, this one uses an interchangeable pad system – it ships with two reusable wet pads, a disposable wet mop pad and a disposable dry pad for general swiffing – and it works remarkably well. For wooden floors I would suggest lowering the spray power in the iRobot app so that it doesn’t leave too much moisture in its wake. But for all other types of hard floor it’s safe to opt for the deep-clean option which really does do a thorough job of cleaning up muddy paw prints and other recent stains. iRobot also supplies a small bottle of Braava detergent for extra cleaning power.
One especially cool thing about this mopping bot is that it can be synced with both the iRobot S9 and the new J7 robot vacs to start mopping as soon as the vacuuming has been completed. Clever stuff.
At a shade under £700, the Braava Jet M6 isn’t cheap but if you’re flush enough, have a lot of hard flooring plus muddy kids and filthy pets, the iRobot Braava Jet M6 is well worth the investment.
• Read our iRobot Braava Jet M6 review for the full lowdown
Roidmi isn’t a familiar brand over here in Blighty but it’s hugely popular in China. Like the Roborock S7, the Roidmi Eve Plus is a vacuum and mop in one. Unlike the S7 it comes with an automatic bin emptying system which is one of the best we’ve seen because it features a touch sensitive LED display that lets the user know when the large 3-litre dust bag is full. The robot itself is also equipped with two side brushes which do a grand job of flinging debris into the path of its ribbed rubber roller.
But I digress because you’ve come here to look at robot mops. Well the Eve does that very well indeed. Like the Roborock S7, Braava Jet M6 and quite a few others knocking about the market, the Roidmi Eve uses a simple mop on its rear that removes most marks and stains like recently spilt liquids and muddy shoe prints while the front end does the vacuuming. You can also adjust the amount of water dispensed from its ample 250ml water tank using the excellent Roidmi app.
This 2-in-1 vacmop has an expert mapping system that uses LiDAR to fully map all rooms really accurately. In fact you can actually watch it map the room in realtime on the app. LiDAR is one of the best systems for room mapping but it invariably won’t allow the robot to venture under sofas or beds if there’s a valance or bedspread dropped over the edge. To get around this, lift the valance so it can fully clean under beds and sofas.
Granted, the Eve did snag itself on at least two rugs during its test run but that is often the norm with robo vacs, especially if the rugs have tassels. Solution? Lift all the rugs off the floor.
If you’re in the market for a very effective robot vac that mops as well as automatically emptying the contents of its bin, I urge you to put this one on the list. At a smidge under £400/$350, it’s excellent value, too.
If you don’t want to spend a fortune on a robot mopper, how about this semi-autonomous offering from iLife? The Shinebot W400 isn’t the brightest bot in the neighbourhood but it’s the only model here that actively washes the floor rather just mop it. Hence, instead of dragging a wet mopping pad around, it uses a spinning brush and vacuum system to suck up dirty water which is then deposited into a 0.9-litre collection tank (the clean water tank is a whopping 850ml). In shirt, it’s the first robot mopping system I’ve tested than really does perform as well as a mop and bucket.
However – and it’s a BIG however – the Shinebot W400’s navigation software is so basic it cannot create maps or even find its way back to the charging dock. You literally have to carry it to its place of work and take it back to the charging doc when its finished.
As long as you don’t mind getting off your butt to place the Shinebot in the area you want cleaned, you should be pleasantly surprised by the results. No, it cannot avoid most rugs and carpet and it will inevitably miss some sections of the floor, but in the main it performs well for the price and is a pretty safe bet for hard floor households with lots of pets and kids mucking about.
• Read our full iLife Shinebot W400 review
The Ultenic T10 Robot Vacuum dazzles with its glistening white finish, but underneath it's more than ready for most home vacuuming and mopping chores. Most notably, this one also boasts a self-emptying bin which means it can automatically return to the docking station and, while getting recharged, dump all of its accumulated trash.
What this does is turn the Ultenic T10 Robot Vacuum into a real bruiser in terms of performance. Indeed, the runtime goes all the way up to 280 minutes, which makes it one of the best there is.
There's a power-packed supporting app too, which comes with all of the options for mapping every room in your house using the bot’s LiDAR laser navigation system. It might take a while to configure properly, but after you've done it once, the Ultenic T10 is more than capable of just getting on with the job.
Mopping mode delivers more appeal and although this is only really designed for lightweight cleaning activities, it is very adept at homing in on grubby footprints and the like for brilliant spot-cleaning duties.
Would you like a cracking robot vacuum cleaner to go with your mopbot, sir? Here's our guide to the Best Robot Vacs on the market